*** Please note this is a paid editorial. ***

When Interstate Music say they support new artists, they mean it. Whether sharing knowledge gleaned from decades of experience in an ever-changing industry or launching multiple ventures intended solely to showcase emerging artists, they’re doing it like no one else. Here’s how...

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The Interstate story

Interstate Music has been putting instruments in musicians’ hands for 75 years. Founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1946, it quickly gained a great reputation among educators and musicians themselves. But from the get-go, it set out to be more than just a retailer.

“We believe in providing access to the best music gear,” says Jeff Peterson, Interstate CEO, “but way more importantly, we believe in the musicians and artists who choose to use it.” This goes vastly beyond the straightforward selling of instruments and involves everything from creating platforms specifically to elevate new artists to sharing in-depth knowledge of the ever-changing music industry. Interstate sees its mission as connecting artists with everything they need to feel creative, supported and needed.

New Music Now

The championing of new music is at the heart of everything we do at Alternative Press, which is why we can’t help but love Interstate — celebrating and elevating emerging artists is at the core of what they do, too.

Succeeding in the music world is incredibly difficult, something that Interstate fully understands. Artists need information, access and support in addition to the raw talent and passion that drives them. Interstate uses its connections within the industry — and 75 years of goodwill never hurt anything — to get the right music to the right ears. Whether through its social networks, Interstate of Music podcast, ambassador programs or events, Interstate Music is doing all it can to draw attention to new talent.

For a new band or solo artist who might be dripping in ability but unsure how to navigate the music world or unsure how to get their work out there, this is beyond invaluable.

Support like no other

Unprecedented circumstances require unprecedented support, and Interstate provided that in droves when the COVID-19 pandemic brought the live music industry shuddering to a halt. For established artists who had large platforms and fanbases, this was a huge inconvenience, but for smaller acts yet to make their mark, it was potentially more of a death knell.

Interstate did all it could to continue to showcase artists, even when no in-person concerts were taking place. The custom-built Interstate Music Stage at the Caribou Room in Wisconsin is a professional space for artists to perform and record in, both for live audiences (when possible) and livestreamed ones. Emerging acts can play for free and end up with slick, high-quality videos and pro-standard recordings with which to get themselves noticed. The stage played host to 2021’s Interstate Music Festival, an online event encompassing workshops, product sneak-peeks and live performances. 

It also launched the first-ever Interstate Music Awards, inviting up-and-coming bands and solo artists to put themselves forward. Livestreamed performances showcased artists across multiple genres from country to funk, with the title ultimately won by New York punk-rock band Card Reader

The Interstate Music Awards 2022

The inaugural IMAs went down so well that they’re back for 2022 with more awards, more live shows and more livestreams.

“Last year, we kept things simple and chose only a single winner,” Peterson says. “But because of listening to the excitement and voices in our music community, we’ve expanded the 2022 awards into six categories with five nominees each and added two new awards to acknowledge venues and educators this year.” The 2022 awards are currently open to submissions from artists. Winners walk away with gear, attention, experience and the option of becoming ambassadors for the brand.

Also launching imminently is the Interstate Music Collective, a platform for musicians and artists to engage with one another, exchange music and ideas and provide one another with support. 

It’s easy to sell someone a guitar, but Interstate Music is doing so much more. “Our customers come to us each day in hopes of building a music dream, and with a passion and uniqueness they want to share,” Peterson says. “It’s our responsibility to help them and keep new music moving.”